Wild West Bison Roundup: BYU Studies Utah's Largest Mammal

Wild West Bison Roundup

With an outdoor classroom straight out of the Wild West, BYU students and faculty recently worked the Antelope Island State Park bison roundup, assisting with health check-ups and conducting research about bison birthing behaviors. Led by BYU professor Randy Larsen (Plant and Wildlife Sciences) and Antelope Island wildlife biologist Steven Bates (a BYU PhD candidate and full-time park biologist), students helped attach radio tracking collars to pregnant bison to collect data about animal birthing habits. Using the radio collars and VIT implant trackers, they will locate birthing sites in the spring to identify what areas the bison prefer. Antelope Island State Park managers can then use the information to determine where to build roads and trails to minimize disruption to the bison and to protect visitors.

Antelope Island State Park, Utah’s largest state park located in the Great Salt Lake near Syracuse, Utah, is home to a herd of about 500 wild bison, and a variety of wildlife including pronghorn antelope, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and many bird and insect species. The free-roaming bison herd was originally established on the island in 1893 when animals were relocated to Utah from Kansas. For more information about Antelope Island, see https://stateparks.utah.gov/parks/ant...

Special thanks to Antelope Island State Park and Utah Division of Parks and Recreation for assistance and video footage